Dall’s Porpoise Facts
- Perhaps most notably, the beautiful cetacean named the Dall’s Porpoise remains the largest of all known porpoises. The truly marvelous creature also currently represents the only member classified within its genus, Phocoenoides. Furthermore, this gorgeous mammal was named after the American naturalist, W. H. Dall.
- Fortunately, its population numbers appear to be reasonably high, and also relatively stable. Therefore, the IUCN presently lists this particular marine mammal as a Species of Least Concern on its Red List of Threatened Species. In addition, this amazing porpoise enjoys the status of a protected species within a portion of its natural range.
- Quite unfortunately, the Dall’s Porpoise does not enjoy similar protection throughout the entirety of its endemic territorial range. That’s because it remains a commercially fished species in the country of Japan, in Asia. For the moment, the government of the country allows a quota of a total of 17,000 individuals to be taken each year.
- Sadly, the animal also now faces other threats to its existence. For one, certain environmental contaminants now pollute parts of its range, including such compounds as PCB’s. Additionally, it now faces newly expanding perils. Much like other species, it now finds itself threatened by the ongoing and escalating effects of climate change.
Dall’s Porpoise Physical Description
Although the beautiful Dall’s Porpoise qualifies as the largest of all known porpoises, it also stands out for other reasons, as well. This holds especially true of other dolphins sharing the same approximate territorial range. However, it does have the trait of sexual dimorphism in common with them.
Firstly, in the case of this animal that trait mainly displays itself in terms of sheer physical size. Secondly, though, the species also displays the characteristic in the development of some slight variations in form, as well. Thus, the physical trait presents in terms of both simple size and body shape.
Males of the Dall’s Porpoise typically attain a larger body size. This gender reaches a maximum body length of roughly 7.87 ft (2.4 m). Meanwhile, weights vary between individuals of both genders. This weight commonly ranges between a total of 370 – 490 lb (167.8 – 222 kg). The male also has a deeper caudal fin and an angled dorsal fin.
Females, however, develop as slightly smaller in physical size, and with the different fins. But, both genders display the characteristic of color combinations varying widely among individuals of both genders. Yet, this typically consists of being mainly black, with gray or white patches on the stomach and flank.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Phocoenidae
- Genus: Phocoenoides
- Species: P. dalli
Dall’s Porpoise Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The mesmerizing cetacean known as the Dall’s Porpoise possesses a natural range that consists of the region of the North Pacific. More precisely, this range extends from the Sea of Japan to the coast of California, in the United States, and to the Bering Sea. Furthermore, scattered individuals sometimes appear as far south as lagoons in Baja California, in the country of Mexico.
Predominantly, this fascinating species of cetacean prefers to inhabit colder waters. This usually includes waters with a temperature measuring less than 64 F (18 C). In addition, the creature most commonly appears in offshore waters, at great depths. Nevertheless, some individuals do occasionally frequent deeper coastal waters, including fjords and canyons.
The Dall’s Porpoise feeds principally as an opportunistic hunter, much like many elated species. Additionally, it generally hunts its prey either near the surface or in mid-range depths. That prey further commonly consists of a wide range of small fish species. In addition, small squids and even crustaceans are sometimes consumed. However, these comprise only a small portion of the diet.
This stunning animal also appears to be a highly active creature. It also remains capable of reaching and maintaining great speeds, sometimes as much as 34 mph (55 kph). Most commonly, it lives in small social groups. These typically average between 2 – 20 individuals. But, large groups of as many as 100 individuals occur, though usually for group hunting. Life expectancy appears to be 15 – 20 years.